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Best aftermarket suspension kit for UK roads

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OK from actual real world experience which is the 'best' aftermarket kit for UK roads?

By best i mean in terms of handling and ride - improvement in handling (cornering) over standard without a jarring ride. That's handling on UK roads and not on some contintental test track!

Or is the standard set up better OR standard shocks with aftermarket springs (e.g. Eibach pro)?

I know there's a definitive coilover thread but there isn't a definitive handling and ride thread for those unconcerned by things like ride height :)

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On my golf 4motion I replaced standard shocks and fitted eibach -30mm springs which was brilliant compromise between handling and ride however I'm going coilovers for a little more of a drop on the Lupo so will be interesting to see the difference. If as you say you are not concerned with ride hight I'd go for new shocks and slightly lower springs myself

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KW's are the best rated coilover for ride.

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KW V1's with the awesome rear anti roll bar....worth every penny!

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Ap shocks and springs -40mm will out handle 99% of coilovers!

Thats cause 95% of the people on coilovers wind them too far down and spoil the geometery.

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Thats cause 95% of the people on coilovers wind them too far down and spoil the geometery.

I didnt :) mine are only nout 35-40 down from standard and handle beautifully, highly reccommend AP's as they leave u comfy without feeling the need to avoid small potholes. Just remember not to judge them immediately, they take a few weeks to wear in nicely.

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worth the extra for KW V1's, buy cheap buy twice.

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KW's are awesome, but mine are far from comfy.

Bilstein B10 (or was it B12?) kits are highly rated as a fixed drop kit for comfort, and especially handling.

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ta techs woop woop! jkz snap ya spine at every given opertunity :)

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KW's are awesome, but mine are far from comfy.

Bilstein B10 (or was it B12?) kits are highly rated as a fixed drop kit for comfort, and especially handling.

What that man said. I didn't mention that i already have KWs on my gti. Whilst they are not crashy as such and probably perfect for smooth continental roads it is a stretch of the imagination to say they ride well on poor uk roads (even at max height) and this certainly limits their handling capabilities.

Has nobody on here fitted quality fixed kits (konis, bilstein)?

My KWs have been on since i bought the car and i'm about to refresh the suspension totally (which might help to an extent with the ride and handling) but just wondering whether to swap the KWs out or not. Unfortunately the experience with suspension tuning seems to be more about ride height and relative comfort of different coilover kits than performance improvement designed for uk roads. Then again i've just described the majority of the aftermarket suspension products for all uk cars there!

Cheers.

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I've got KW V1's on my GTI which I bought brand new and are set to the maximum allowable height that is within the guidelines. As you would expect the car drives very well and the ride is very controlled but it's not what you would call comfortable.

Now I have eibach springs on my TDI and that is much more comfortable.

The problem with all coilovers is that because the springs are so small they have end up being very stiff. Imagine unwinding a coilover spring out straight, and then doing the same with a standard spring. The coilover spring would be much shorter, so in order to cope with the weigh of the car fully loaded it end up being much stiffer.

Edited by jon_273

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My AP coilovers are pretty soft. I'd even go as far as saying they're too soft for "fast road" driving.

Agreed though, a suspension kit is a better way to make it handle and keep it comfy. A Bilstein B12 kit would be my desired option. :)

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I've got KW V1's on my GTI which I bought brand new and are set to the maximum allowable height that is within the guidelines. As you would expect the car drives very well and the ride is very controlled but it's not what you would call comfortable.

Now I have eibach springs on my TDI and that is much more comfortable.

The problem with all coilovers is that because the springs are so small they have end up being very stiff. Imagine unwinding a coilover spring out straight, and then doing the same with a standard spring. The coilover spring would be much shorter, so in order to cope with the weigh of the car fully loaded it end up being much stiffer.

You can get whatever spring rates you want though. I'm pretty sure the AP, Weitec and KW springs are all the same. The KW GTI springs are 250lbs per inch. Rears cant be checked in that way as they are progressivly wound. There is a guy called Dogwood on here from up your way, sadly doesn't post much who dropped down to 200 I think and found great improvement. He knows alot about this kind of stuff.

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Whilst we're on the subject...

Are you supposed to cut down the bumpstops when going low on coilovers? I've heard that you do, but there's no mention anywhere on the KW website or instructions.

Anybody done it?

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You can get whatever spring rates you want though. I'm pretty sure the AP, Weitec and KW springs are all the same. The KW GTI springs are 250lbs per inch. Rears cant be checked in that way as they are progressivly wound. There is a guy called Dogwood on here from up your way, sadly doesn't post much who dropped down to 200 I think and found great improvement. He knows alot about this kind of stuff.

Well James, when I swapped from the Weitec's to the KW's the springs had all the same numbers written on them so I bet you're right. When you look into suspension it gets quite complicated if you want to do it right!

Something else I've noticed - it's a lot more comfortable with 3 passengers than it is when driving alone. Maybe I'll have to start driving round with sandbags in the footwells :huh:

Whilst we're on the subject...

Are you supposed to cut down the bumpstops when going low on coilovers? I've heard that you do, but there's no mention anywhere on the KW website or instructions.

Anybody done it?

I've cut mine down only because the rings keep falling off. Probably not a good idea if you often have a lot of weight in the back. They are really long compared to the front ones though, so plenty of room for shortening.

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I have the bilstein b10 kit and its fine for road use, id recommend it to anyone, NOT wanting and adjustable kit.

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I have the bilstein b10 kit and its fine for road use, id recommend it to anyone, NOT wanting and adjustable kit.

B10 not available for the gti unfortunately.

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B12 is though ;)

yes but the B12 kit isn't renowned for its ride on uk roads though. i've had the B8 dampers out of the kit on a previous car and i'd simply be swapping out harsh ride with not brilliant handling properties to harsh ride with better handling (probably).

i'm trying to find a middle ground - which might be new standard dampers and eibach pro kit i think.

the roads at the moment are doing a very good impression of the face of moon crater wise!

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yes but the B12 kit isn't renowned for its ride on uk roads though. i've had the B8 dampers out of the kit on a previous car and i'd simply be swapping out harsh ride with not brilliant handling properties to harsh ride with better handling (probably).

i'm trying to find a middle ground - which might be new standard dampers and eibach pro kit i think.

the roads at the moment are doing a very good impression of the face of moon crater wise!

Very true, i had b12 kit and on UK roads is was pretty bumpy, but on track it came into its own world!

I would look at a Koni kit, i would say Koni are one of the best companies along with Bilstein for spring and damper set ups.

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To get a car to handle well you need to stiffen it up. This will obviously give a harsher ride.

As the Lupo/Arosa is ment as a city car Im guessing it'll have a pretty flexable/forgiving chasis.

Higher end sports cars etc are desinged from the ground up to ride and handle well so they can specify exactly how stiff/soft things are. (sorry if this bit sounds patronising, I dont know how much you know about the subject :) )

The Ebiach springs on standard dampers are supposed to give a good ride / handling compramise.

I know AP coilovers will good enough ride wound half way down on 195/45 tyres for a comftable 250 mile drive. You feel most bumps but the car settles quickly and doesnt crash over them.

Tyre profile comes into alot as well, I noticed a huge change in comfort going from the standard 175/65 tyres to the 195/45.

Edited by Deadmetal

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To get a car to handle well you need to stiffen it up. This will obviously give a harsher ride.

As the Lupo/Arosa is ment as a city car Im guessing it'll have a pretty flexable/forgiving chasis.

Higher end sports cars etc are desinged from the ground up to ride and handle well so they can specify exactly how stiff/soft things are. (sorry if this bit sounds patronising, I dont know how much you know about the subject :) )

It would be patronising if it was without question correct. Some tuners are actually starting to offer bespoke products for fast UK road cars which 'soften' aspects of suspension to improve handling on sports suspensions predominantly designed on track or on smooth continental surfaces e.g. Birds one of the leading UK BMW tuners offering suspension packages with softer rear spring settings than standard cars.

The question is about use on uk roads, not tracks or continental surfaces where most tuning products are developed, which quite often make them wholely unsuitable for UK roads, other than for people wishing to get as low down and close as possible to the potholes they're inevitably dodging :)

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